Kevin Burnett, LB
Raylee Johnson, DE
Eugene Marve, LB
Igor Olshansky, DT
Lee Williams, DE
Wilbur Young, DE
I end this series with a poll. Not because it’s that tough a choice (at least not in my mind), but more to signify an end to the series.
After the jump, I'll provide my two cents about the contenders, but I'd like to take this moment to thank all who have read the series and even perhaps enjoyed one or two. Some were designed to stir the pot of discussion, some were intended to bring a chuckle, but all were meant to bring back fond memories of a team and players that we've all come to love. I thank you for your support and encouragement -- and even your criticisms. Now let's get on with some football! Go Bolts!!
Kevin Burnett is all about the future. His stats certainly don’t compare to Chargers of the past, but he has a chance to make his way on a list of all-time great Charger linebackers. Don’t get me wrong – he has a long way to go. And it’ll be especially hard if he signs with another team.
Igor Olshansky doesn’t have the stats to compare, and he just wasn’t that good. But I include him in this poll because some people seem to like him. To be sure, he entered the league with a lot of splash. His eye-popping performance at the combine was enough to elevate him into the 2nd round of the draft. But when push came to shove with Igor, well, it just seemed that Igor stayed at push. Strong, yes. Stout at the point of attack, okay. Able to shed blockers, eh. Able to hurl them aside and make bone crushing tackles, nope. Able to actually get past them and wreak fear into the hearts and minds of ball carriers – especially Quarterbacks, hahahaha! More laughable than Igor’s one-liners. Igor signed a big-money free agent contract with Dallas – and was quickly benched on 3rd downs when they realized he couldn’t generate a pass rush.
Raylee Johnson didn’t crack the starting lineup for the team until his 7th season, but he made a name for himself – and left an indelible mark with the Golden Jersey committee – with a heck of a Super Bowl. Two sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception returned for a touchdown. Okay, perhaps a bit of revisionist history, but he was one of few Chargers to have a good game that day. But the fact is that even after Raylee became a starter, he proved his mettle by amassing 20 sacks in two seasons.
Lee Williams played under an umbrella of anonymity. He wasn’t as flashy a draft pick as Olshansky, probably couldn’t bench half as much, but he was about six times as productive. In seven seasons with the team, he hit the double digit mark in sacks 4 times, and even went to two Pro Bowls while playing for some lousy teams. Close this series out right. Give Williams his due and his Golden Jersey.